Can't read this issue? Want to print? Click here
A Glimpse of the Peaceable KingdomLeopard Befriends Cow(or vice versa?)Near the village of Antoli, India, in the summer of 2002, a leopard began to make nightly visits to a cow tethered in the field. The pair would snuggle together, clearly very attached to one another. The story spread, and many villagers, rangers, and other officials came to witness it. Some witnesses theorized that the leopard was the young daughter of another leopard who had been trapped in the area and relocated; it was thought that this youngster still needed mothering, and, as a good heir of ancient Indian tradition, chose the cow as her foster mother. Eventually the leopard stopped her visits. See Rare FriendshipEditor’s Corner Essay:Enchantment vs. Compassionate Justice?. . . . Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comesWherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,The bird of dawning singeth all night long;And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad;The nights are wholesome; then no planet strikes,Nor fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charmSo hallow’d and so gracious is the time. . . .--Wm. ShakespeareDuring Advent 2019, a church in -- --Claremont, California created a very non-traditional -- --Nativity scene on its property. The figures of Mary, -- --Joseph, and the Divine Child were presented as -- --separated in three large cages, topped with barbed -- --wire. The display was obviously comparing the -- --biblical story of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt -- --in order to escape the massacre being perpetrated by -- --Herod “the Great” to the Trump-era family separations -- --at the US/Mexico border, at their worst in 2018. The -- --message is hard to miss: the infant Jesus is present -- --now in children threatened by murderous gangs in -- --Honduras or Guatemala. He and his parents are -- --seeking refuge in the US: in imprisoning present-day -- --asylum-seekers and tearing children from their -- --parents’ arms (it is still going on, though not as -- --overtly as in the late spring of last year), we are -- --tearing up the Holy Family. Christian activists -- --often quote “When you did it to one of the least of -- --these members of my family, you did it to Me” to -- --express how urgently relevant the Bible is to current -- --situations.The story of the display went viral, and -- --the responses were largely divided between -- --enthusiastic praise and angry blame. Some writers, -- --finding the image very powerful and insightful, said -- --they had been deeply moved, even to tears. Others -- --resented what they perceived to be a violation of the -- --holiness of the Christmas story, and/or a -- --politicization of what should be sacred. Some found -- --it incompatible with the separation of church and -- --state in the US.It is hard for the two sides to -- --understand one another, and it seems likely that few -- --if any of the many impassioned letter-writers -- --convinced members of the other camp. Just another -- --example of the seemingly unbridgeable Grand Canyon -- --that divides us politically and socially in the US -- --today?Yes, it is, but the two sides of the divide -- --have roots going back hundreds, even thousands of -- --years to the days of primal religions.EnchantmentFor -- --centuries, people have sensed a special, powerful -- --spiritual atmosphere in certain places and at certain -- --times of the year, as illustrated by the lines of -- --Shakespeare’s character Marcellus in Hamlet, Act 1, -- --Scene 1, quoted above. Some people, he says, claim -- --there is a sacred power prevailing during -- --Christmastide (December 25 to January 6) that can -- --check disturbing and even malevolent spiritual forces -- --such as ghosts and witches, that operate chiefly at -- --night. Even the rationalistic Horatio remarks that -- --he “in part” believes it.It is interesting to compare -- --these ideas of a sacred Christmas time with the -- --worldview implied in A Christmas Carol about two and -- --a half centuries later. Ostensibly, rather than no -- --spirit daring to stir, more unhappy spirits than -- --usual are abroad, represented by Marley and all the -- --ghosts of mournful bankers and businessmen floating -- --around in the night air, in anguish that they cannot -- --help a homeless woman and her baby on Scrooge’s -- --doorstep. (Scrooge sees them briefly as he looks out -- --his open window after Marley’s departure, but misses -- --the significance of the suffering mother and child on -- --Christmas Eve; he closes his window, closing them -- --out.)Marley says he is often present unseen in -- --Scrooge’s house, but in fact he is visible to his -- --ex-partner only on Christmas Eve. But--neither Marley nor his fellow ghosts are malevolent. They are victims of their own past greed, and they long to undo their past and relieve the suffering of the vulnerable. And the three most powerful Spirits, of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, appear to Scrooge with the compassionate purpose of enabling him to change his stunted and twisted life to one of active compassion. So the spiritual atmosphere is, after all, not so different as that which Marcellus describes; Christmas time in the Carol is essentially both “hallow’d” and “gracious.”Both Hamlet and the Carol inherit ideas of a pre-Christian Celtic worldview in which the year is divided into quarters, one turning into the next at the solstices and equinoxes, and even into eighths. At these turns, otherworldly beings are particularly active in our world, either for good or for ill. The ghosts of Christmas are heirs of the ghosts, nature spirits, and other unseen beings who may ordinarily have had only limited access to the visible world, but can emerge during Yuletide.Enchanted events often bring joy and enrichment. Children are particularly open to it; their excited anticipation of Christmas is not just a matter of eagerness for presents. Having grown up in a financially struggling farm family, my siblings and I received only unexciting, useful gifts. Yet I can remember looking at little black-and-white drawings of Christmas scenes in a book of carols, with a rapturous feeling that I was gazing into Paradise. This memory suggests to me that the persons who protested against the cages in the Nativity scene may have been afraid that they were in danger of losing that contact with something divine.Another example: many Near-Death Experiences are overwhelmingly Enchanted, even including mystical union with God, and result in a wonderful transformations of life. Shallow and frivolous lives can become so enriched as to be lifegiving to others; selfishness and fear of death often vanish, to be replaced with lives of loving service.The Night Side of EnchantmentBut feelings about the world of spirit are mixed, throughout history and today. Many people are fascinated by any manifestations of it, whether they be only a sense of something uncanny, of accounts of visits of angels, of healings and answers to prayers, precognitive visions, apparitions of the dead or of the living. But others fear and dislike any claims that Enchantment is real, whether they believe them to be genuine or believe otherwise. One big reason for hatred of it today, especially among people who believe it is unreal, is that for centuries ideas of spirit- or spiritual causation have delayed the advancement of science, especially medicine. and justified violence against scapegoats. And many still hold that a scientific worldview and a world of spirit are totally incompatible.It is easy to find historical movements that give support to this conclusion. When many members of a society are in the grip of fear as a result of looming threats--epidemics, hunger, political and/or religious instability--they want someone to blame. They engage in -- --witch-hunts, literal or metaphorical, almost always -- --of members of a vulnerable minority. Literal -- --witch-hunts in Europe were at their worst in the -- --1500s and 1600s, no doubt fed (so to speak) by hunger -- --caused by the poor crops during the Little Ice Age, -- --and by religious uncertainties and political -- --instability triggered by the Reformation. There is -- --nothing like widespread fear to turn Enchantment -- --bad.A particular example of this can be seen in -- --Shakespeare’s depiction of King Richard III in the -- --play of that name. Historically, after Richard was -- --killed at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 and -- --his body stripped naked, it became apparent to all -- --that his spine was deformed, a fact that probably was -- --not known earlier to more than a few intimates -- --because the curvature was essentially side-to-side -- --rather than front-to-back. It would not have -- --hindered him from ordinary activities, or from -- --fighting in armor, as was learned from the excavation -- --in 2012. The only publicly visible evidence during -- --his lifetime would have been that one shoulder was -- --slightly higher than the other, something easy to -- --mask with padding. And he seems to have been a -- --rather handsome young man.Henry Tudor and his -- --successors were eager to make Richard into a villain -- --and thus present their own dubious claim to the -- --throne as the coming of justice. In their -- --propaganda, his physical deformity became a visible -- --sign of an evil nature. Shakespeare makes the most -- --of it in his artistically powerful but historically -- --dishonest play. (Shakespeare himself did not make up -- --all its falsehoods; some of them were already present -- --in his sources.) He depicts Richard as so ugly that -- --people kept their distance from him. In sharp -- --contrast to this dark Enchanted view, medical -- --scientists have now diagnosed Richard’s condition as -- --scoliosis. This conclusion emerges from the present -- --day’s disenchanted worldview, in which the condition -- --has no inherent meaning, for good or evil, aside from -- --whatever distress or inconvenience it causes the -- --person who has it. In the case of Richard -- --Plantagenet, this disenchanted view is liberating; -- --and many in our culture are convinced that -- --disenchantment is always a relief from the -- --destructive grip of superstition and oppression.The -- --danger of a disenchanted worldview is that when we -- --take it to its logical conclusion, everything in the -- --world finally becomes drained of real meaningfulness, -- --or has only such meaning as the individual chooses to -- --assign to it. Then one person’s opinion is just as -- --valid as another’s, even if the opinion of one of -- --them is that the strong, like Herod, have the right -- --to rob, cage, and trample the weak, like the infant -- --Jesus and his peasant parents. We need sources of -- --Enchantment.Compassionate JusticeWe are back looking -- --at that Claremont Nativity display, and listening to -- --the controversy over it; we explored a little of the -- --sense of Enchantment that caused some readers to -- --protest that the story is sacred and must not be -- --touched. But those who approved the depiction of -- --today’s refugee immigrants as Jesus and his parents -- --also stand in an ancient tradition. It stands at the -- --core of Judaism, and is reaffirmed in the Matthew -- --nativity account, which alludes to the story of -- --Moses’ birth. Founded in the account of the Exodus, -- --the tradition’s message is that God cares about the -- --weak and the downtrodden, and calls human beings to -- --take action that will free them and raise them up. -- --This was radical because the Exodus takes place in an -- --ancient culture where the sacred is typically -- --situated at the top of the power structure, the king -- --and his retainers, and the priests. It would have -- --been unheard-of for a people’s God to identify first -- --with those at the bottom of society, the oppressed -- --and disregarded.It is true that Moses’ calling to -- --this work of compassionate justice is unmistakably a -- --sacred event in a sacred place, the epitome of -- --Enchantment. Born in a community of enslaved people -- --but raised as a prince, he encounters God, “I am who -- --I am,” in the fire of a desert bush that won’t stop -- --burning. He is told “Come, I will send you to -- --Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people, the -- --children of Israel, out of Egypt.” The story -- --includes signs and wonders, but God does not work -- --like a bolt of lightning out of the sky while people -- --watch passively; he works essentially through human -- --action.As time goes on through biblical history, the -- --radicality of the message is lost again and again, as -- --those at the top of society claim divine -- --authorization for themselves, and oppress the -- --powerless. The message is renewed by the word of the -- --great (writing) prophets, who come with the word of -- --God for their own times. They are usually from -- --outside the power structure; they denounce evils -- --being committed against the vulnerable by the -- --Israelite Pharaoh and other rulers of their day, and -- --predict catastrophes as a result. Thus Amos, a lowly -- --herder:“For three transgressions of Israel, and for -- --four, I will not will not revoke the -- --punishment;Because they sell the righteous for -- --silver,And the needy for a pair of shoes;They -- --. . . trample the poor into the dust of the -- --earth. . . . .” (Amos 2:6-7)They call upon their -- --hearers to turn back (t’shuvah) from their evil -- --works, and promise that divine forgiveness and -- --renewal will follow.Unsurprisingly, most of the -- --prophets commanded little respect among the powerful -- --to whom they spoke; seldom do the rich listen to -- --nobodies, and share out their loot. Amos, for -- --example, was kicked out of the Northern Kingdom after -- --his prophetic sermon, and the disasters he predicted -- --did indeed take place. By that time it was easier to -- --see that their word came from God.Of course the -- --prophets had other things to say as well, not all of -- --them as admirable as this. They were human; they -- --shared some of the misconceptions and prejudices of -- --their times. Highly sensitive to the oppression of -- --the poor, they failed, for example, to notice the -- --oppression of women. A number of the prophets in -- --fact reinforced that oppression by representing -- --Israel’s worship of other Gods via the image of a -- --wife’s unfaithfulness to her husband (but not vice -- --versa).In the Exodus story itself, animals appear -- --twice, but are not liberated. God commands the -- --Israelites to kill lambs for the Passover meal, and -- --smear some of their blood on their doorposts and -- --lintels of their houses to ward off the destroying -- --angel. Thus the killing is sacrificial. The -- --Egyptians’ innocent horses are drowned together with -- --their riders who were set on recapturing the escaping -- --slaves. However, as we pointed out in “We Were -- --Slaves to Pharaoh” in PT 31 , Exodus provides a core -- --principle, in which the daughters and sons of the -- --great prophets are called to draw out and proclaim -- --new implications of the work of our predecessors. -- --Neither Exodus nor Christmas can be locked in the -- --past, untouched; they must always be renewed and -- --applied to today’s victims.The prophet Hosea -- --exemplifies the beginnings of this process regarding -- --animals when he depicts God as saying “I desire -- --kindness, not sacrifice; / The knowledge of God, -- --rather than burnt offerings.” Jesus quoted and -- --affirmed this passage. He also, as a prophet engaged -- --in a street- theater-type action, commanded an end to -- --the sale of sacrificial animals in the temple.We -- --can’t be sure whether Hosea, or Jesus, intended -- --kindness to animals as well as to humans; but the -- --passages lay the foundation for such kindness. Thus -- --the ancient story, as the Exodus Principle, is good -- --news for our animal cousins today.With these things -- --in mind, we can answer the question in our title. It -- --is not a matter of the Nativity story being treated -- --either as Enchanted, or as calling us to -- --compassionate justice for the oppressed now. It is both.--EditorThe photo on p. 3 features Frank Finlay as Marley -- --from the 1984 TV movie of A Christmas Carol (starring -- --George C. Scott). The photo on p. 4 is of a model of -- --Richard III made by extrapolating from his skull. The -- --excavation, diagnosis, and DNA identification of the -- --remains as Richard’s, all products of a disenchanted -- --worldview, were ironically made possible by a very -- --Enchanted event in 2004, repeated in 2005: Philippa -- --Langley, an officer of the Richard III Society who was -- --doing research for a play about his life, was exploring -- --areas in the city of Leicester considered likely to contain -- --his lost burial place. Suddenly she felt a compulsion to -- --enter a municipal parking lot. As she walked over a -- --particular spot, she got strong chills and felt an -- --unshakeable conviction that his bones were immediately -- --below. And they were.NewsNotesMilk Sales’ Steep DeclineThe -- --sale of fluid cow’s milk in the US has declined 47% since -- --1970; major company Dean has declared bankruptcy. See -- --BankruptCalifornia Law Bans Wild Animals in -- --CircusesCalifornia has passed a law banning the use of wild -- --and exotic animals in circuses! See BanEthical Vegan Wins -- --Court Case in BritainA vegan who worked for the League -- --Against Cruel Sports was fired for informing colleagues -- --that the group’s pension fund was investing in companies -- --that tested on animals. A judge decreed that his veganism -- --was a valid belief deserving legal protection. See Cruel -- --SportsBlessed Are the Merciful“A Christmas or two ago an -- --old friend of my late Dad's came by to see me. Heidi -- --immediately showed her distrust by bristling and barking. -- --Then she retreated to a hallway where she could run if -- --needed, and just watched as we talked. The man was talking -- --about some things they used to do and all the fun they had -- --before my Dad passed away. Suddenly, he was overcome with -- --emotion, and started to sob as he realized that almost -- --everyone that had ever cared about him was gone. Then, just -- --as suddenly, Heidi came from behind me, walked right up to -- --him, and stood straight up on her hind legs with her front -- --legs extended. She gently placed her paws on his chest, and -- --then laid her head against him with her eyes turned up -- --looking into his face. Her look spoke what was in her -- --heart: ‘I want to comfort you.’ . . . . I watched with -- --amazement as a big smile came over his face and he began to -- --hug her. My shelter dog had just given this man the -- --perfect Christmas present. Her compassion had overcome her -- --fear, and in doing so she had given him comfort and joy.”--David FryeContributed by and Judy -- --CarmanLetter: Lisa Kay AdamAs always, I enjoyed reading -- --The Peaceable [Table], and the article “What if God is the -- --Water?” particularly resonated with me because of an -- --experience I had many years ago. I don’t remember doing -- --anything in particular but idling when I was struck by an -- --“image” of the divine and all existence as flowing water -- --with fish. I use the word “image” loosely because it was -- --not only visual, or related to any one particular sense, -- --but perhaps all of them at one time, or none of them. I -- --immediately wrote out the small poem below. . . If I -- --dissect it for its theology, or its poetic qualities, I -- --find many flaws, but I have always preserved it as is, for -- --myself, because it was a record of that moment. I thought -- --you might appreciate the slight similarity to your -- --article’s theme.--L.K.A. (See poem below.)Pioneer: Henry S. Salt, 1851 - 1939Quick quiz: Who first proposed the concept of animal rights, as over against animal welfare or the benefit of animal well-being or vegetarianism for humans? At least among modern Westerners, it was Henry S. Salt, a pioneer vegetarian and humanitarian thinker and practitioner in the Victorian era. He is somewhat the grand old man of the movement for the remainder of his long life well into the twentieth century.Salt was born in India, the son of a British army colonel, but was returned to Britain as an infant, spending the rest of his long life “in darkest England” (in the language of William Booth). He received the best education available, attending Eton College (roughly, the equivalent of an elite US high school) and Cambridge University, returning to Eton after graduation from the latter in 1875 to serve as an assistant master (teacher) in classics. It was here that he met his future wife, Catherine (Kate) Joynes, the daughter of another teacher, and with her made a marriage that, unlike most others in that day and place, was a true partnership of compassionate kindred spirits.His thoughts and Kate's were already moving away from secondary education, however. In 1884, disgusted by the meat-heavy diet and dependence on servants of other Etonian masters, Henry and Kate left the famous school, moved to a cottage in a small village, to grow their own vegetables and live very simply. He also wrote. Salt's first book, A Plea for Vegetarianism, was published in 1886. A biography of Henry David Thoreau, whom he admired and with whom he obviously shared many values, came out in 1890. This work was widely praised; though he withdrew from the world, the world came to him. A Plea and subsequent books led to a friendship with Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi among many other luminaries of the radical wing of late nineteenth-century thought, from Algernon Swinburne and William Morris to G. B. Shaw and Leo Tolstoy. Gandhi credited Salt with familiarizing him with Thoreau and assisting him considerably in the contemporary practice of vegetarianism.In 1892 Salt published his Animals' Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Progress, the first study entirely devoted to this subject. It is held to be the first to propose that animals should be free to live their own lives according to their own nature and instincts, and that humans should support them in this by treating them with compassion and justice. Salt asserted that animals no less than humans, though perhaps not quite to the same degree, to be sure, "are possessed of a distinctive individuality," and therefore in justice are entitled to live a full life in accordance with it.(Salt may be the first to develop this idea discursively and thus initiated the contemporary discussion of the subject, but poets generations before him have anticipated it. William Cowper in his 1784 long poem The Task says about animalsNow happiest they that occupy the scenesThe most remote from [man’s] abhorred resort. . . . The wilderness is theirs with all its caves,Its hollow glens, its thickets, and its plainsUnvisited by man. There they are free,And howl and roar as likes them, uncontrolled,Nor ask his leave to slumber or to play. [390-91, 394-98]In fact, even the biblical poet who wrote “Job” suggested the point. In his text, God says to JobWho has let the wild ass go free? . . . .He scorns the tumult of the city;He hears not the shouts of the driver. [Chapter 29:5-7])In 1891 Salt founded the Humanitarian League, opposed to avoidable suffering in any sentient being, animal or human. For animal rights were far from the only cause that engaged the outspoken writer. The League called for the abolition of corporal punishment, of the death penalty, hunting for sport, flogging in the Royal Navy, and vivisection, calling for reform in education, prisons, the rights of women, and much else. Perhaps Salt tried to do too much, and overextended his energies; in any case, the League was disbanded in 1919. But for him all unnecessary suffering was ultimately of a piece, demanding opposition wherever it appeared.At the same time, Salt could take a characteristically balanced approach to his reformist subjects, avoiding extremist rhetoric and passionate appeals. He preferred to reach out to his listeners' or readers' own good sense, and above all to look toward the future. As with many of his time, he considered vegetarianism to be part of the progressivist coming age, along with peace, the rights of labor and of women, and all the benefits of advancing technology. (Much of this, of course, was set back by the great disillusionment of the First World War; perhaps that helps explain the laying down of the League at its end.) In 1914, in The Humanities of Diet, Salt wroteI advance no exaggerated or fanciful claim for Vegetarianism. It is not, as some have asserted, a "panacea" for human ills: it is something much more rational -- an essential part of the modern humanitarian -- -- movement, which can make no true progress -- -- without it. Vegetarianism is the diet of the -- -- future, as flesh-food is the diet of the -- -- past.Such is this wise senior voice of the -- -- movement in the nineteenth and twentieth -- -- centurie. Not "exaggerated or fanciful" but -- -- something more important: a voice always -- -- there, keenly insightful, reliable to the -- -- end. Salt was disgusted with the churches -- -- of his day, and had a low opinion of -- -- religion, especially Christianity. But in -- -- fact he was heir to the tradition of Exodus, -- -- and the prophets, and Jesus, calling out to -- -- his contemporaries that they must turn back -- -- from their callous and cruel ways, and treat -- -- the vulnerable with justice and -- -- compassion.The admirable Henry Salt is -- -- always worth a fresh look.--Robert Ellwood and Gracia Fay EllwoodBook Review: How Not to DietMichael Greger, How Not to Diet. New York: Flatiron Books, 2019. 597 pages. $32.50 hardcover.This doorstop-sized addition to Michael Greger's canon clearly reflects the title of his previous bestseller, How Not to Die. As Greger liked making clear to those who may have thought he claimed to hold the secret to immortality, he did not say one could avoid death altogether, as might be the case if the title were How to Not Die, but only there are certain ways one need not die, namely as the result of a bad diet. A good diet can keep one alive years longer--so as to die perhaps by some more exotic -- --means such as being hit by lightning or a -- --meteorite?Comparably, the present opus, -- --primarily focusing on weight loss, in fact -- --surveys a wide gamut of food issues in -- --Greger's inimitably personal, mildly -- --humorous style. He tosses off one-liners -- --or clever subtitles on nearly every page: -- --“Think ye of the Twinkie,” Chicken -- --chickens out,” “Liposuction sucks,” -- --“Plants live the ultimate sedentary -- --lifestyle,” “The road to health is paved -- --with good intestines,” “Just the flax, -- --Ma’am.” These, and succinct descriptions -- --of case studies and trials with -- --eye-opening results, just keep one reading -- --on and on. The author does not say don't -- --diet, but rather shows that there are good -- --and bad ways to do so. In the process he -- --occasionally reveals the reasons for the -- --failures of various fad diets that have -- --come and gone, from paleo this-and-that to -- --the latest Atkins to "traditional herbal." -- --He shows that the propaganda for most of -- --them is based on bad science, -- --testimonials, before-and-after photos, and -- --the lure of making big money. "Every -- --month seems to bring us a trendy new diet -- --or weight-loss fad, and they always sell -- --because they always fail"--for the market is based on repeat customers. "Racked with the guilt and self-hatred of failure, people often line right back up to be fooled again." In this book, Greger hopes to "help break that cycle by cutting through the BS" to tell it like it is. (p. 3)There is no silver bullet for weight loss, only eating the foods humans probably originally evolved to live on: the fresh, low-fat, unprocessed, plant-based cuisine--nuts, leaves, -- --legumes, fruit, roots --all the time. That was before our ancestors discovered hunting, cooking, salt and sugar, refining flour or polishing rice. The old way still works--though thanks to creative preparation, its plain and -- --simple ingredients can be prepared in very tasty and -- --interesting ways."My literary agent," Greger -- --acknowledges, "told me that no one wants a fat diet -- --book. They want it to be as slim as they envision -- --their future selves." Nonetheless, he confesses, he -- --couldn't help getting to nearly 600 pages because he -- --just didn't want to leave out anything relevant to -- --the topic. He not only tells us how not to diet, but -- --also how to diet effectively--though thankfully this volume, unlike many on the topic, is not filled out with recipes. They have a valuable placeof course, but in my view that is in a separate book. This one is devoted to the findings of science and, Gregor insists, good science checked by no fewer than six experts (though the references are online rather than at the back of the book), not the fake news and "alternative facts" of too many self-serving nutritionists. In the process Greger tells us about calories, salt, added sugar, the microbiome [intestinal bacteria], exercise, tea and coffee, circadian rhythms, and much else--all you really need to know to eat (and drink) right if you -- --really want to succeed, instead of looking for a quick -- --fix.Being science-based, How Not to Diet is not overly -- --dogmatic or ideological. It presents the facts and their -- --implications, and leaves readers to decide how to apply them -- --in their own case. While it is clear that the studies he -- --cites overwhelming support a diet free of animal products, -- --he does not insist that small amounts of flesh necessarily -- --prevent weight loss, whatever other reasons there may be for -- --avoiding them. The book is therefore accessible to persons -- --at many stages of personal and spiritual evolution.For that -- --reason How Not to Diet is highly recommended to a very wide -- --range of interested readers. Get a copy, give copies away, -- --see that it's in your local library, church or -- --meeting-house. And I'd also like to recommend you -- --supplement reading it with following Michael Greger's -- --popular website, which offers free daily -- --notices of nutrition research clearly presented for the -- --general reader. Speaking and writing, Greger is one of the -- --most engaging communicators around, and you can count on him -- --to be accurate.--Robert EllwoodRecipe: Red Lentil Soup6 cloves of garlic, minced½ c. green olives or ½ regular onion, chopped1 15-oz. can unsalted diced tomatoes¼ c. fresh mint, chopped, or 1 teas. dried1 teas. dried or powdered oregano4 c. vegetable broth1 c. red lentils2 large carrots, cubed2 oranges peeled and cut in quarters, cooked in soup12 oz. fresh spinach or other greensZest of 1 lemon½ teas. freshly ground black pepper81 T. balsamic vinegarIn a soup pot, stir-fry (braise) the garlic and onions in a little water, wine, or vegetable broth for about 2 minutes, until they begin to wilt.Add the diced tomatoes, mint, and oregano, and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes more.Add the broth, lentils, carrots, and orange pieces and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the carrots are tender and the lentils soft but not mushy, about 15 minutes.With an immersion blender, blend the soup to the consistency you like, right in the pot. Or carefully transfer half the soup to a food processor and process it until you have the texture you desire. Try to leave some whole pieces of tomato and carrot This soup is nice if it’s a little chunky.Stir in the spinach, lemon zest, pepper, and vinegar, and cook for a few minutes more. Serve hot.If you use greens other than spinach [e.g. collards], add them to the soup earlier as it cooks, so they have time to soften.--Jane Esselstyn (Modified by Nancy Campeau)Nancy Campeau -- --brought a pot of this soup to a recent meeting of Quaker -- --Animal Kinship, sponsor of PT. I thought it was the best -- --lentil soup I had ever tasted.--EditorPoetry: Lisa Kay Adamthe fingerling leapsas it swimsdownstreambut it knowsthe water is homegod not timeis a riverthe compassionatememoryin which all flowsthe plunge returns, and that betweenis permanent as foamThe Peaceable Table is a project of Quaker Animal Kinship, a non-profit organization also known as the Anl Kinship Committee of Orange Grove Friends Meeting, Pasadena, California. It is intended to resume the witness of that excellent vehicle of the Friends Vegetarian Society of North America, The Friendly Vegetarian, which appeared quarterly between 1982 and 1995.The journal is intended to be interactive; contributions, including illustrations, are invited for the next issue. Deadline for submissions for the March-April issue will be April 26. Send to or 14 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023. Donations to offset the cost of supplies and printing are welcome. Send checks to Robert Ellwood, Treasurer, 14 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023.